Norfolk Southern launch next generation carbon calculator

The industry leading online tool helps customers to accurately account for, measure and mitigate carbon emissions in their supply chain decisions.

Norfolk Southern Carbon

Credit: Norfolk Southern

Norfolk Southern Corporation have announced the launch of a next generation carbon calculator to support customer efforts to account, measure and mitigate carbon emissions in their supply chain decisions. Rail is the most efficient way to transport freight across the landscape. Every day, Norfolk Southern helps to deliver the low carbon economy. According to the most recent CDP report, for the average company, supply chain emissions are 11.4 times higher than operational emissions. With a sample size of over seven million shipments, the online calculator is built on an algorithm that produces results based on actual data to strengthen and improve efficiency estimates, giving customers the ability to include emissions into their transportation decisions.

Norfolk Southern were the first in the rail industry to create a carbon calculator in 2008. Using an industry-leading approach, this new calculator improves the accuracy of carbon estimates by capturing the entire cycle of fuel usage. Direct fuel consumption from locomotives is applied to every rail car based on weight and distance travelled. Additional fuel accounted for includes yard and local operations, equipment repositioning, and fuel expended while handling containers in intermodal operations. The innovative process generates a rail fuel efficiency factor for 18 rail car types and 30 commodities plus intermodal.

“Technology is the fuel accelerating Norfolk Southern’s digital transformation,” Josh Raglin, Chief Sustainability Officer for Norfolk Southern, said. “More than 25 per cent of our customers have set public targets for emission reductions, and our new calculator provides a level of assurance that customers need to both measure and manage supply chain emissions. This tool provides our current and future customers with the data to understand the sustainable advantages of shipping via rail.”

This next generation calculator was designed with the entire transportation industry in mind. Norfolk Southern worked with logistic partners to ensure the calculations drawn between shipping via truck and rail sectors were accurate. With 57 per cent of all freight considered flexible freight, this calculator focuses on incorporating carbon into the decision framework of shippers to encourage the shipper to choose the most efficient and least carbon intensive mode of transportation.

Users enter the type of commodity they want to transport, shipment weight and frequency, and then choose from over 75,000 origins and destinations in the United States. The calculator provides data on estimated and avoided emissions, carbon dollars saved, highway miles avoided, trucks and cars taken off the road, and other carbon equivalents.

“Rail is one of the most sustainable transportation solutions,” Ed Elkins, Chief Marketing Officer for Norfolk Southern, said. “Railroads move 45 per cent of the country’s long-distance freight but produce only seven per cent of all freight-related emissions. The second-generation carbon calculator is an innovative tool that illustrates the effectiveness of rail to help customers reach their own sustainability goals.”